Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cornish Splitters (English Batter Bread)

I’m currently reading A Baker’s Odyssey by Greg Patent, which is an outstanding book that explores the baking traditions of various U. S. immigrants. The book contains a wide range of recipes that I could showcase in this blog. I could have prepared an elegant Gâteau Basque. Or a jaw dropping Hungarian Walnut Torte? However, I chose to make Cornish Splitters, a traditional English batter bread because I’m a bread man. I know it's not a flashy recipe, but I like the alchemy of taking simple, ordinary ingredients – water, flour, yeast, and salt – and morphing them into something complex and extraordinary. I also chose it because the one hour prep time fit well into my busy weeknight schedule, and since the recipe only made 6 rolls, I could experiment without having an excessive surplus of bread on hand.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup whole or low-fat milk, heat until 110 degrees.
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  1. In a medium bowl, blend the flour and butter with a wooden spoon until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in yeast, sugar, and hot milk. Beat with spoon until you have a thick batter. Add salt, and beat for 1 or 2 minutes more, until smooth. (Note: The cookbook insisted that I would have a thick batter. I don't know if this stiff mixture technically constitutes a batter. It seemed much to0 thick for me. Shouldn't you be able to pour a batter? I tried to find online references to Cornish Splitters, but I couldn't find any. Maybe the cookbook author is just pulling my chain.)
  2. Let batter stand uncovered at room temperature for 45 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees while the batter rests. Coat a large baking sheet lightly with cooking spray.
  4. When the batter is ready, spoon 6 larges gobs onto the prepared pan, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Each gob will be 3 inches across. (It was difficult to spoon gobs because this batter isn't really a batter.)
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the splitters are pale golden brown and srping back when pressed gently in the center.
  6. Serve and enjoy
I didn't care for the overly yeasty flavor of these rolls. The rolls weren't bad, but if you want bread in a jiffy, stick to biscuits. This recipe won't supplant any bread or roll recipes already in my repertoire, but it satisfied my craving to bake and gave me some more experience. You never know when Cornish Splitters might pop up in a conversation. If they do, I'll be able to contribute more than a blank stare.

Pass the jam,

1 comment:

Haley said...

We would like to feature your recipe on our blog. Please email if interested. Thanks :)